CCW Naivety of Genuinely Good People

By John Farnam

Here lies the body of Mike O'Day
Here lies the body of Mike O'Day
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( The vast majority of state CCW ( Concealed Carry Weapon ) licensees are genuinely “good” people, but many have had precious little relevant training, and much of it fraught with errors and unrealistic expectations.

For example, many naively believe:

1) When they see “bad things” happening in public places (which don't involve them directly) that they should step forward and “get involved” and “ do some good.”

2) Violent Criminal Actor's (VCA) will do what they are told to do, because they're intimidated by the gun in the hands of the righteous CCW holder.

3) The CCW holder will be thanked and congratulated for his courageous intervention and good intentions

4) VCAs will be so impressed with the CCW-holder's gunfire, that they will fall down immediately upon the first impact, just like on TV!

5) That “going armed” means having “a little something” (like a .380 pocket pistol), and that such “mouse-guns” that will be sufficient for most lethal threat(s).

6) Holding and maintaining suspects at gunpoint until police arrive is easily done and mostly risk-free.

The unhappy reality is this:

1) Any time you voluntarily inject yourself into a dangerous circumstance in which you were otherwise not involved, you are required, by law, to act in a “non-negligent” manner.

What, under Heaven, does that mean?

It means that, when anyone can point-out where you could have done it better, you will inherit some personal liability for all the “bad things” that are invariably going to happen, bad things like death, personal injury, property damage, etc.

In most cases, when you see “bad things happen,” you don't have enough solid information to take any kind of unilateral action, particularly action that may be the direct cause of personal injury or death. Gunfire is irreversible! You may not be seeing what you think you're seeing.

Best option is almost always to quickly withdraw, get to a relatively safe location, and then call the police. This is the kind of situation you pay a police department to confront and handle!

2) VCAs at whom you point your gun will likely not be impressed in the least, because they probably won't even see it! Expecting voluntarily compliance under such circumstances is mostly wishful thinking. When you do get his attention, the best thing for you to do is encourage him to turn and run away!

3) Don't expect to be thanked! Don't expect anyone to be “understanding.” Do expect to be arrested at the scene, maybe charged. Do expect to be endlessly criticized and second-guessed by the media, investigators, your friends, et al. Do expect to be sued. Don't imagine this incident will have any kind of “happy ending!”

4) When you are compelled to employ gunfire to protect yourself, lower your expectations of your pistol and your ammunition. Upon being struck by your bullet(s), the most likely reaction of the VCA(s) will be to run away, showing scant indication of reduced mobility! When he/they continue to present a lethal threat, be prepared to hit him/them multiple times. Even then, any kind of instant de-animation is extremely unlikely.

5) Small 380Auto pistols, and snubby revolvers are arguable as second/back-up weapons, but they represent a desperate lower-limit when that is all you have with you. When “going armed,” you should be carrying the most formidable pistol you can comfortably fit into your life.

6) Holding suspects a gunpoint and waiting for police to arrive is an activity that is so dangerous, I recommend you not do it at all!

Suspects may attack you, despite the fact you're holding a pistol on them. Arriving police may mistake you for the suspect, and, since you're holding a gun, engage you immediately and without warning.

As mentioned above, when you have a dangerous suspect at gunpoint, the best thing to do, from the standpoint of your continued good health, is to persuade him to voluntarily disengage and run away. Police will probably pick him up a short time later anyway, and you'll end your high risk-exposure as quickly as possible.

As I tell my students,

“I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here to tell you what's going to happen when you do. Then, you make your own, informed decisions. I'm not here to suggest you do the ‘right thing,' nor the ‘moral thing,' even the ‘legal thing.' I'm suggesting you do the smart thing, from the standpoint of your continued good physical health, financial health, mental health, and general well-being. “

As more good citizens make the decision to “go armed,” the foregoing is going to become more and more critical.

“Here lies the body of Mike O'Day, Who died maintaining his right-of-way His right was clear His way was strong But, he's just as dead, As if he'd been wrong!”

From an epitaph on a mock head-stone, erected, among others, as a warning to young recruits during military training in the early 1940s.


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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    Gregory RomeuYardbirdKenWGordonJohnny Recent comment authors
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    Gregory Romeu
    Gregory Romeu

    The U.S. Marine Corps pretty much trained me to do whatever is necessary up to and beyond taking out any lethal threat(s) The bottom line is: If you choose to carry, also choose to become dead if you do not have your head and butt wired. For you civilians, practice, practice, practice, until what you are doing becomes normal. Become aligned with the firearm you choose. Become aligned with the new laws that pop-up while you sleep, but never, never, NEVER relinquish the ground you stand to defend or the lives you have decided to sacrifice yourself to save!


    We will never know how Wilcox’s actions changed the outcome of the Las Vegas events. The press will not cover it.


    Just another one of those “I’m a tactical firearms instructor and are so much smarter than you non-traind idiots!:
    “For example, many naively believe:” These 6 talking points are pompous bullshit IMO. I have serious doubts about how many CCW holders actually believe this nonsense.


    Johnny – have you considered that timing of this post may be purely coincidence, and even if not do you dispute the information provided.

    Mr Farnam may or may not have had the LV shooting in mind but the six points discussed are important and should be carefully analyzed by all CCW licensees. He is attempting to keep people out of trouble.


    The timing of this article offends me greatly, especially coming from a pro-freedom, pro 2nd amendment source. I’ll go under the assumption that you posted this article due to the events which transpired in Las Vegas where Joseph Wilcox, a ccw holder was murdered while trying to stop an active shooter. Joseph Wilcox could have run out of that store and just worried about himself but instead he heroically confronted the armed psychopath. Let us not forget that these criminals also murdered two highly trained LVMPD officers, one of which was an advanced tactics instructor. Joseph Wilcox would have stopped… Read more »


    Thats what our CHL instructor told us about 15 years ago.Always encourage the bad guy to stop and run away,esp.when its a situation you have injected yourself into. Makes sense to me !